LOUISVILLE, Ky.Â â€”Â Breonna Taylor’s shooting was the result of aÂ Louisville police department operation to clear out a blockÂ in western Louisville that was part ofÂ a major gentrification makeover, according to attorneys representing the slain 26-year-old’sÂ family.
Lawyers for Taylor’s family allege in court documentsÂ filed SundayÂ that a police squad â€” named Place-Based Investigations â€” had “deliberately misled” narcotics detectives to targetÂ a home onÂ Elliott Avenue, leading them to believe they were after some of the city’s largest violent crime and drug rings.
The complaintÂ â€” which amends an earlier lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother against the three Louisville officers who fired their weapons into Taylor’s homeÂ â€”Â claims Taylor was caught up in a case that was less about a drug house and more aboutÂ speeding up the city’s multi-million dollar Vision Russell development plan.
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“The execution of this search warrant robbed Breonna of her life and Tamika Palmer of her daughter,” Florida-based attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family, told the Louisville Courier-Journal, part the USA TODAY Network.Â Â
“Its execution exhibited outrageous recklessness and willful, wanton, unprecedented and unlawful conduct.”
Mayor Greg Fischer’s top economic development official called the accusationsÂ â€œa gross mischaracterization of the project.”
“The work along Elliott Ave is one small piece of the larger Russell neighborhood revitalization and stabilization work weâ€™ve been doing for years, including the transformation of Beecher Terrace through Choice neighborhoods grants,”Â Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Louisville Forward chief said in a statement.
Louisville Metro Police did not respondÂ to the Courier-Journal’s requests for comment Sunday night.
Accusations contained in lawsuits do not constitute evidence in a court of law and represent only one side of the argument.
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The warrants carried out in the narcotics investigation on March 13 wereÂ meant to target one of the “primary roadblocks” to the development: A man named Jamarcus Glover, according to the complaint.
Glover rented a home placedÂ squarely in the area of the planned redevelopment.
Glover is one of Taylor’s ex-boyfriends with whom sheÂ maintained a “passive” friendship, Sam Aguiar, one of the attorneys, has previously said.
In the affidavit seeking the no-knock search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, Detective Joshua Jaynes wrote that he had seen Glover leave Taylor’s apartment in January with a USPS package before driving to a “known drug house.”
The detective wrote he then verified “through a US Postal Inspector” that Glover had been receiving packages at Taylor’s address.Â
A U.S. postal inspector in Louisville, however, told WDRBÂ News that LMPD didn’t use his office to verify that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment andÂ that a different agency had asked in January to look into whether Taylor’s home was receiving suspicious mail. The office had concluded it wasn’t.
Jaynes is now on administrative reassignmentÂ until questions about “how and why the search warrant was approved” are answered, interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder said last month.
It is that tenuous connection to Glover that led police to Taylor’s apartment on March 13, Aguiar and his co-counsel, Lonita Baker, say in the complaint.
“Breonnaâ€™s home should never have had police there in the first place,” the attorneys wrote in the filing.Â “When the layers are peeled back, the origin of Breonnaâ€™s home being raided by police starts with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project and finishes with a newly formed, rogue police unit violating all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards.
“Breonnaâ€™s death was the culmination of radical political and police conduct.”
According to the police department’s organization chart,Â the Place-Based Investigations squad was created to address “systemically violent locations” and help existing crime deterrence efforts.
“PBI focuses on identifying and disrupting crime place networks,” the police department’s website says. “These networks include crime sites, but also places used by offenders that do not typically come to the attention of police. PBI will collaborate with other government and community partners to identify and eliminate violence facilitators.”
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Court records show Jaynes sought five warrants on March 12, including one forÂ Taylor’s apartment,Â a suspected drug house , two vacant homes nearby and a suspected stash house.
Glover and a man named Adrian Walker were named on all five search warrants and were among the night’s primary targets.
“The reality was that the occupants were not anywhere close to Louisvilleâ€™s versions of Pablo Escobar or Scarface,” the court complaint says. “And they were not violent criminals. They were simply a setback to a large real estate development deal and thus the issue needed to be cleaned up.”
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GloverÂ was arrested on Elliott Avenue that night for trafficking and firearm offenses. The case remains pending in Circuit Court.
Glover, 30, has faced drug charges before and had pending drugs and weapons chargesÂ against him at the time of the March 13 warrant.
Jaynes also requested a warrant for the Elliott Avenue home on April 21, with Glover again listed as a target. Glover was arrested a second time on April 22 after the warrant was executed, court records show, for additional drug and trafficking charges.
The case remains pending.
Follow Phillip M. Bailey on Twitter atÂ @phillipmbailey.
Follow Tessa DuvallÂ on TwitterÂ @TessaDuvall.
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